O'Fallon Progress

Three hour public hearing ends in stalemate for U-Haul development in Shiloh

Shiloh residents fill three hour public hearing with opposition testimony on proposed U-Haul project. Here’s why.

Over 59 Villages at Wingate Shiloh residents filled the Senior Center Monday for a what ended up being a three hour public hearing.
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Over 59 Villages at Wingate Shiloh residents filled the Senior Center Monday for a what ended up being a three hour public hearing.

Following a three-hour public hearing at the Shiloh Senior Center Monday night with 59 residents in attendance opposed to a U-Haul storage development on Green Mount Road and Wingate Boulevard, the Shiloh Planning Commission voted 3-1 to table the project for further review.

Shiloh Planning Commission member John Lee was absent. Brian Manion, commission chairman, said he thinks that to make a decision the full board needs to be present.

The next planning commission meeting is slated for Monday, Dec. 11.

More than 20 people asked questions and gave testimony under oath during the public hearing.

U-Haul and Amerco Real Estate’s rezoning request is to change the 8-acre project site, at 200 N. Green Mount Rd., for the proposed U-Haul facility from planned business to light industrial.

The special use permit requested is for 700 interior climate controlled storage units, 99 exterior storage units and 49 outdoor RV parking lanes with charging stations for the vehicle generators.

Mike and Linda Italiano were one of the first Villages at Wingate subdivision residents, and both expressed strong opposition to the project citing traffic, safety and aesthetic concerns.

“There’s many other locations close by that would be better suited than in our subdivision, and not just our subdivision, but a brand new subdivision where they’re building new houses and just built a brand new school,” Italiano said.

She, like others, cited other storage unit facilities that are already close by, like the Safe Lock facility on Lebanon Avenue.

“Many of us would not have chosen this subdivision, nor will people continue to choose it if this incompatible use is approved...not to mention this use is far from what we were promised with the current zoning,” Italiano said.

Other residents who spoke asked the board if they would move to a subdivision that had a high-capacity storage facility in front of their neighborhood, which commission member Howard Steffey later said, “I wouldn’t.”

He expressed the board should forward a recommendation of denial for the project to the village trustees.

“They are very concerned with light pollution, safety and crime — I think they had a lot of legitimate, strong concerns,” Steffey said.

Manion said he was “torn.”

Commission member Jim Stover said he “has major concerns about this project,” agreeing that additional time to review is needed.

Stover noted when the board approved the Wingate development about 10 years ago it was in a Tax Increment Finance district.

“To give a variance for that, I think is going to substantially implement a change in the comprehensive plan and the official comprehensive map and ultimately the village board is gonna have to take a look at this — they get get the final approval on this,” Stover said.

Amber Powell, a Wingate subdivision resident, said she thinks the planning commission’s decision to table was a “good one.”

“We provided them with a lot of testimony and information, letters, the petition, photographs, so I know they didn’t have a lot of time to review it all,” Powell said.

“So I’m glad to see that they were going to take additional time to make a decision, rather than rush it,” Powell said.

Like Powell, Marjory Rolling, a mother of two boys, said her backyard will abut the proposed parking and storage facility, which wasn’t the type of possible commercial such as retail or restaurants that developers and realtors “promised” when they moved to Wingate.

“I’m frustrated that we have to go over all of this again since one member wasn’t present,” Rolling said.

Robyn L. Kirsch: 618-239-2690, @BND_RobynKirsch